Brita, Burt's Bees, and Green Works are three of the sustainable brands of the Clorox Company. The company must come up with effective design for the marketing strategy of these three brands. It must consider whether sustainability should always be embraced in upcoming moves for development or a mere focus on its core brands is enough?
Elie Ofek; Lauren Barley
Harvard Business Review (512009-PDF-ENG)
July 27, 2011
Case questions answered:
- Develop a marketing plan for each of the three sustainable brands going forward. Which are you most optimistic about heading into 2011?
- What are the implications of building the three sustainable brands for Clorox existing brands? For the company as a whole?
- Should Clorox continue trying to leverage “green” for growth?
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The Clorox Company: Leveraging Green for Growth Case Answers
Clorox research display four key motivators that drive people’s interest in the environment (personal protection, cost, status, and altruism). Clorox strategic objective is to change the public perspective of the company by using marketing strategies involving sustainability practices to improve its brand image. The issue with Clorox company is its bad image of chemical-based products, but with efforts of changing that reputation, consumers should show a switch on their buying behavior.
The growing trend of sustainable products has influenced consumers to become more conscious of their consumptions and Clorox has found this as an opportunity to grow and gain market share. A large number of competitors and a saturated amount of products shows that Clorox needs to implement a strategy based on product differentiation. Adding natural products to its line Clorox has found challenging to convince consumers of using them, functionality, affordability, accessibility, and branding are the major issues. Changing the thought that strong chemicals work best to clean up compared natural product represent the biggest challenge for Clorox but if consumers can be educated successfully it will result in tremendous growth opportunity for the company.
Brita – Water filtration system
This innovative idea represents the best opportunity for Clorox to grow in in the following years. Families all over the US have opted this item at home but it is time to take the product one step further. The reason why people used to buy water in plastic bottles is because of convenience and transportability. A way to continue offering this benefit is to try to develop a filter that can be adapted to the lid of the Nalgene’s reusable plastic bottles so consumers can refill and filter water on the go at any given time. Even though Brita represents only 4% of Clorox Brand portfolio, it is the product with fewer concerns related to chemicals and not being eco-friendly.
In the other hand, the public image of this brand being eco-friendly can be used to leverage growth in the sustainability market. The new product “porta-Brita” can be strongly advertised seasonally. During late spring Porta-Brita can offer a way to stay hydrated when the hot summer hits, and the bottle use to remain cold/hot temperatures as the winter comes and the filter needs to be replaced by a coffee or hot chocolate lids. Marketing campaigns themes will focus on natural filters instead of chemical compounds, manufacturing filter that lasts longer and can be recycled, packaging solutions with post-consumer materials and reduction of waste, utilize post-consumer materials to develop filters and bottles, and sell the idea consumers know the origin of the water they are drinking compared blindly guessing the precedence of the plastic water bottles.
Burt’s Bees – Natural Personal Care Products
The most important factor in a marketing strategy for this company is communication and connecting well with consumers on how natural resources are used to make the ending product. Ideas for advertising campaigns will focus on the efforts that Burt’s Bees and Clorox are making by contributing a percentage of total sales to support the overall environment conservation efforts. The inclusion of bloggers and partnering with celebrities can boost sales and help the manufacturing process by displaying to the public the consumption of Burt’s Bees products and giving feedback on how to improve product experience, and in exchange, they will be supplied with some of their favorite products for free.
Targeted segmentation strategies will help increase consumer based, by executing campaign activities that cultivate the idea of using natural products on young induvial could show exponential results in the future. For instance: to target residence halls in colleges by providing personal supplies on move-in days and teach students about the benefits of using natural products.
Exporting to global markets is not a good way to support green practices given that it incurs consumption of fossil fuels, pollution to the oceans, and emissions of gas. It is also important to recall that natural resources are different in every region, so it will bring discrepancies in certain areas. In the other hand, if entering international markets is that necessary for the competitiveness of the company, then opening manufacturing facilities that operate with local products could be an option to consider.
Green Works – Natural Household Cleaners
Being cost efficient and accessible for customers are the major concerns for this company. A great way to have families test the efficiency of natural cleaners is by providing it to them. Get customers familiar with the product will generate brand loyalty. A way to approach this issue to sell the original Clorox product and stick to it a sample of the natural version of the product, that customer can compare the difference between both products. Also, advertising campaigns should be targeting live style channels such as magazines, TV commercials, and mail coupons. Strategic partnership with cafeterias, restaurants, medical centers, and other establishments that are sanitary sensitive is a viable solution to promote the usage of the natural cleaning products and its advantages over chemical-based cleaning products.
Two major issues such as cannibalism and major investments will be faced by Clorox. Cannibalism will happen by introducing new items to the product line as consumers will purchase more natural products from Clorox’s green brands compared to original chemical-based products, reducing annual sales. The more communities educate about environmental conservatism efforts the less consumers will want to buy Clorox original products, that is why it is important to invest and expand on its eco-friendly practices and adopt an aggressive strategy early on before other competitors start doing the same.
Secondly, a large amount of cash is needed to follow up with marketing campaigns, research and development, and human resources training. Switching to a different business model that focuses on eco-friendly practices will require training of employees to be prepared to deal with these type of business practices. Also, introducing products to the market requires advertising and promotion expenses to convince old customers and attract potential new customers. In addition, the development of new natural products will result in the redesign of the manufacturing line, which will represent fluctuations in the cost of production and finding new suppliers.
Consumers behaviors and shifts in trends towards sustainable products Clorox Company should continue its efforts on leveraging “green” for growth by working on its distribution line to retailers that are related with low price products such as Walmart, dollar general, etc. That way the natural products will not be seen as exclusive and expensive. Also, by leveraging its brand recognition, Clorox can promote its sustainability brands to accelerate the process of brand recognition and develop brand loyalty. Furthermore, advertisement focused on the benefits of using natural products will contribute to the transition of customer product selection. Finally, educate customers on buying eco-friendly should be the ultimate objective of Clorox to accomplish its business plan.